China’s Internationalized Higher Education During Covid-19: Collective Student Autoethnography

Michael A. Peters, Hejia Wang*, Moses Oladele Ogunniran, Yingying Huang, Benjamin Green, Jasmin Omary Chunga, Eric Atta Quainoo, Zhihong Ren, Stephanie Hollings, Chunxiao Mou, Sphiwe Wezzie Khomera, Man Zhang, Shuchen Zhou, Amina Laimeche, Wener Zheng, Rulin Xu, Liz Jackson, Sarah Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article presents 15 autoethnographical texts detailing student experiences at Beijing Normal University in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. Contributions have been collected over 6 weeks between 15 February and 1 April 2020, edited by Hejia Wang (assisted by Moses Oladele Ogunniran and Yingying Huang), and supervised by Michael Peters. Through shared in-depth empirical feelings and representations from a wide variety of cultural, historical, and social contexts, the article outlines an answer to the question: How do students, connected virtually but separated physically in an internationalized university, deal with disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic? Student testimonies offer reflections on Covid-19 and Chinese international education, experiences of online teaching and learning, reflections on university coping mechanisms, an account of realities and feelings related to changes in academic life, and discussions on coping strategies in Chinese international higher education. Contributors expose their individual feelings, effects, benefits, challenges, and risk management strategies. Collected at the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, these testimonies are unable to offer systemic answers to challenges facing the whole world. However, these experiences and feelings will provide important inputs to global discussions about the future of the world, after Covid-19.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)968-988
Number of pages21
JournalPostdigital Science and Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Challenges and opportunities
  • China
  • Collective autoethnography
  • Covid-19
  • International higher education
  • Pandemic


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